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Florida has a very serious and harsh stance on charges involving illegal sexual acts. The main purpose of the law is to protect innocent victims from predators and make the State a safer place. However, there are some instances in which exaggerations or false accusations have occurred.
Alleged sex crime offenders not only face severe social judgment but can also be punished with jail time and fines. Additionally, Florida treats alleged offenders who are convicted of a felony sexual offense against minors are required to register as sex offenders. Because of this, having the right criminal defense attorney representing you is paramount in fighting the charges and moving on with your life.
Tallahassee Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a sex crime in Leon County or the surrounding areas, an experienced Tallahassee sexual offense attorney at Pumphrey Law can analyze the facts of your case and find an applicable defense. The lawyers at Pumphrey Law can work to have your charges reduced your charge or dismissed.
The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are familiar with Florida’s sexual offense laws and can help you clear your name. They understand the severity of the charges and they can help you get your life back on the right track. Pumphrey Law has been defending against allegations of sex crimes for over 2 decades. Call a sexual assault attorney with the results to back it up!
Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout Tallahassee and the surrounding areas of North Florida including Monticello in Jefferson County, Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Quincy in Gadsden County, and Bristol in Liberty County. Contact Pumphrey Law at (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation.
Florida law governs sex crimes in different ways. There are various offenses that can be considered sex crimes, and the penalties vary depending on the offense and the situation. The team of attorneys at Pumphrey Law understands the sensitive nature of the charges, and they use their experience to help clients accused of sexual crimes. Some of the most common sexual offenses in Florida include:
This offense generally falls into the category of sexual battery under the Florida Statutes Section 794.011. However, under provisions of the Florida Statutes, rape also can be defined as sexual violence. It can include any felony where a sexual act has been committed or attempted.
The elements of sexual battery change depending on the specific charge. Generally, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
Defendant committed a sex act upon the victim. A sex act does not necessarily only mean penetration, it can also be a sex act if there was just contact.
Defendant committed the act without the consent of the victim.
Under the Statute, consent means “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission.” The Statute also states that consent is not drawn when the victim fails to fight or resist the offender.
Rape/sexual battery offenses are felonies. The degree of the charges often depends on factors such as the age and condition of the victim, if there was the use of force, and the relationship of the offender to the victim. When the act is an instance of gang rape, known as sexual battery by multiple perpetrators in Fla. Stat. § 794.011, the offense is reclassified to be one degree higher.
Sexual battery against someone who is 12 years old or older likely would be a first-degree felony. Someone who commits sexual battery against another person over the age of 12 and uses a deadly weapon can be convicted of a life felony. A person who commits sexual battery against someone under the age of 12 commits a capital felony.
Sexual offenses have harsh penalties and a strong social stigma. However, crimes involving children often are prosecuted more severely and the crimes are considered even more disgraceful. Fighting the charges is important. It’s important to note that in most offenses involving children, lack of knowledge of the child’s age is not a defense to the charge, even if the child misrepresents their age. Some sexual offenses in Florida specific to children include:
Statutory Rape Florida
According to Florida Statutes Section 794.05, a person can be charged with this offense if he or she is 24 years old or older and they penetrate the sexual organs, including oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of another person, or engage in sexual activity, with another person who is 16 or 17 years old. A conviction for this offense can result in a felony of the second degree.
Lewdness or Lascivious Act in the presence of a Child
Under this Statute, a person commits Lewd or Lascivious Battery by:
Engaging in sexual activity with a minor or
Encourages, forces, or entices a minor to engage in sexual activity.
Lewd or Lascivious Battery is a second-degree felony.
Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition under this statute is a second-degree felony and a person violates this statute by intentionally exposing themselves or masturbating in front of a child.
Under this statute, it is a second-degree felony to commit lewd or lascivious molestation. A person commits this offense when they have touched a minor under 16 in the breasts, genitals, buttocks, or the clothing over them or if the offender encourages the child to touch the offender. The charge is enhanced to a life felony if the child is under 12 years old.
Luring or Enticing a Child
This offense is defined as a person 18 or older who entices a child, age 12 or under, into a building for an unlawful purpose according to Florida Statutes Section 787.025. This is a first-degree misdemeanor. Luring or enticing a child by someone who already has been convicted of a sexual offense is a felony of the third degree.
Sexual Performance by a Child
Under Florida Statutes Section 827.071, if someone knowingly uses or encourages a child less than 18 years of age to engage in a sexual performance, he or she can be convicted of this sexual performance by a child. Most often this is a second-degree felony.
A person can be charged with this offense if he or she knowingly promotes or uses a minor child under the age of 18 in a sexual performance, according to Florida Statutes Section 827.071. A conviction for this offense can result in a felony of the second degree.
The penalties for sexual crimes in Florida vary based on the offense and several other factors, including the age of the victim. In some cases, a crime could be a misdemeanor, and in other instances, it could be a felony. Some of the possible penalties include:
Up to 60 days in jail and/or fines up to $500
Up to one year in jail and/or fines up to $1,000
Up to five years in prison and/or fines up to $5,000
Up to 15 years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000
Up to 30 years or life in prison and/or fines up to $10,000
Up to life in state prison and/or fines up to $15,000
Life in prison without parole or death
Potential penalties convicted sex offenders could face in addition to criminal punishment include:
Loss of employment or inability to find a respectable job
Inability to find housing
Destroyed relationships with family members and friends
Requirements to register as a sex offender for felonies committed against minors
In addition, students could face possible repercussions if they are charged with a sex crime. College campuses throughout the nation handle sexual accusations differently. On some campuses, students may only face criminal charges. However, some universities also will reprimand students.
If the alleged victim is old enough and mentally capable of giving consent, then this defense can be used. To prove sexual battery, the act must have been committed without consent, so by proving consent, the state is not able to prove the offense occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.
The alibi defense is an affirmative defense, which means that if the alibi is proven to be true then the defendant cannot be found guilty of the offense because they were not there. In the alibi defense, the accused defends against the allegations by proving that they were at a different location with other people when the offense occurred.
Unfortunately, the victim of a sexual battery may not remember the act as well as they think they do. The brain protects us in mysterious ways to protect us from the trauma of the event. As a result, the victim may not recall how the offender looked and may identify the wrong person in a photo or in-person lineup. Today, defense attorneys will call experts to show that the victim’s memory is unreliable and use DNA evidence to prove that the DNA does not match up.
If you have been charged with a sex crime in Tallahassee, contact a sex crime attorney with Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your particular case. An experienced attorney may be able to have your charge completely dismissed or reduced. Our firm has represented those accused of Florida sexual offenses, and can aggressively fight your criminal charge. Contact us at (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation about your alleged sex crime.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.